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NHS vs Private hearing aids

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For a few years my mother has been going deaf. She's been given an NHS hearing aid but although she says it sort of works she complains that the sound is "tinny". She also has trouble putting it in as due to a failed carpul tunnel operation the ends of her fingers are numb.

I was wondering if it might be worth her trying a private hearing aid. Are they any better than the NHS ones or would she still encounter the same problems?

If we do go down the private route, is Specsavers as good as anywhere or is there anywhere else that's recommended. She lives in the Bolton area.

Thanks for any advice.

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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    She might experience the same problems with putting it in, or even worse, because a lot of the private aids see invisibility as a selling point, so they tend to be smaller. 

    It might be worth going back to the NHS clinic, which I know is a pain (especially at the moment), but it might be that further adjustments are needed for the tinny sound. And it's also possible that another aid might be easier for her to put in, or that they might have 'hints and wrinkles' to help those who are struggling. 
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  • edited 4 July at 11:44AM
    NeilCrNeilCr Forumite
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    edited 4 July at 11:44AM
     I think that's good advice from SavvySue

     You might well find, though, that a local private audiologist will give you a free first consultation. When I was in this situation the one close to me did. They were good, let me try the hearing aids that they recommended (they even said I could take them away to see how they were longer term for comfort and fit) and there was no hard sell. I decided to go private as the aids were less intrusive and my NHS audiologist was in London which would have meant journeys into town for check ups etc. The aids were expensive but all follow ups, consultations etc are free (they'll even tackle my ear wax at the same time if needed)

    Might be worth ringing a few local ones to see if they offer the same kind of service - just to see what's out there 

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Yes, worth mentioning that when DH thought he was losing his hearing, Boots were advertising a free appointment. They had a choice of short or long - that's not how they were described, maybe basic and something else? - but DH went for the longer one. The test was more comprehensive than the NHS tests I've had, and included a 'deciphering conversation' test, which is actually the thing I find most difficult - they would play sentences over background noise, increasing the volume of the background noise, and see at what point he could no longer hear the sentences. Then they put some aids in his ears and sent him off round the store. He found they made a marked difference. 

    However, he decided to get an NHS referral, and he now has 2 aids with 'mushroom' tips. I was really surprised how well he got on with them, faster than I did, and they haven't aggravated his eczema which is something that concerned me. 
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • Loanranger21Loanranger21 Forumite
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    Boots allowed my OH to try his hearing aids for 90 days if I remember correctly. He is much happier with these aids than the NHS ones. They were costly but he felt that the audiologist was v thorough and he got his monies worth. If you can afford it, try Boots. No idea about Specsavers, sorry.

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    NeilCr said:
     I think that's good advice from SavvySue

     You might well find, though, that a local private audiologist will give you a free first consultation. When I was in this situation the one close to me did. They were good, let me try the hearing aids that they recommended (they even said I could take them away to see how they were longer term for comfort and fit) and there was no hard sell. I decided to go private as the aids were less intrusive and my NHS audiologist was in London which would have meant journeys into town for check ups etc. The aids were expensive but all follow ups, consultations etc are free (they'll even tackle my ear wax at the same time if needed)

    Might be worth ringing a few local ones to see if they offer the same kind of service - just to see what's out there 

    Actually, I definitely wouldn't pay for a first appointment with an audiologist unless I'd been strongly recommended to them, and they were truly operating independently. I'd expect to get a free consultation from Boots, Specsavers etc. 

    And it's also worth saying that we had no hard sell from Boots, no continuous mailings afterwards, no phone calls, nothing. Very relieved by that. The audiologist thought it would be worth my while to make an appointment with them too, but didn't push it. 

    If we were both still working, and if I was struggling with my hearing, we'd consider private. While my loss remains mild and manageable, and DH is happy with his NHS aids, we'll stay NHS. 
    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
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